Friday, May 30, 2008
What Exactly Are We Fighting For?
While watching the Seattle v. San Antonio game this past weekend, I became aware of the drama surrounding Becky Hammon’s decision to play for Russia in the Olympic games. I also found out that the salary cap for WNBA players is $95K. Yes, you read that right, $95,000. Still don’t believe me, check it out here, here, and here. Hammon and others including Seattle’s Sue Bird, make in some cases 10x that playing in Europe in the off-season. Worse yet, that is for someone seasoned, someone who’s been in the league for a while, like Lisa Leslie.
Rookies have it bad. Even the likes of Candace Parker, who may well be one of the greatest players of all time and was the number one overall draft pick, will only make about $44K this year. Compare that to the minimum NBA rookie salary in 2007, which was a little over $350K.
The WNBA has always struggled to make its mark, find its audience (personally I feel this would be a lot easier if they were willing to pander to the gays, but that’s another post for another day). Their ad campaigns have tried to inspire people. They started with “We Got Next” and then tried “We Got Game”, but I think their new campaign really presses the issue.
Other players with “Expect Great” campaign ads include Tamika Catchings and Cheryl Ford.
Obviously the salary discrepancy is shocking. To be fair, the WNBA doesn’t draw a lot of “butts in the seats”. I really hope that changes with the likes of Candace Parker and others that have drastically raised the game. What I want to know is where are their endorsement deals? Why aren’t we using some of the greatest female athletes to promote a healthy lifestyle? They got Alicia Keys, but what about Nike and Gatorade? Why is it that all things basketball seems to be dominated by men?
I know they tell you not to put all your eggs in one basket, but I’m putting the future of the WNBA on Candace Parker.